Crumbed Sardines With Smoky Relish And Saffron Aioli

SEAFOOD RECIPE Crumbed Sardines With Smoky Relish And Saffron Aioli
Millie Constable

Feb 08, 2023

Sardines With Smoky Relish And Saffron Aioli

Serves 6 as an entrée

12 sardines, gutted (or use small herring, red mullet, baby mackerel or smelts)
about 75 g (2¾ oz/½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
3–4 eggs, beaten with a little salt
about 120 g (4¼ oz/2 cups) sourdough breadcrumbs
olive oil, for frying

Saffron Aioli
125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) Lemon Mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
generous pinch of saffron threads, lightly roasted

Smoked Tomato Relish
4 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ small red onion, peeled and finely diced
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 For the aïoli, it’s better if the mayonnaise is made a day or two ahead. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the garlic and saffron. Cover and refrigerate for later use.
2 For the relish, mix together the tomato, garlic, onion, paprika, lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl and add enough salt to make it sing. Cover and refrigerate for later use.
3 Preheat the oven to 100°C (200°F). Place the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Crumb the sardines by dusting with the flour, dipping in the egg and then coating in the breadcrumbs.
4 Heat the olive oil in a wok or small frying pan to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 15 seconds. Fry the sardines, in batches if necessary, until the coating turns golden. Drain on paper towel and 5 5 keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining sardines.
6 Lay two sardines on each plate (or serve them all on a platter), dollop the tomato relish over, add a spoon or so of aïoli and serve immediately.

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Recipe and image from The Gourmet Farmer Goes Fishing by Matthew Evans, Nick Haddow and Ross O’Meara, published by Murdoch Books.


By Millie Constable

Millie Constable is a contributor for



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